January 24, 2020 - 11:43 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Billionaire George Soros said he will commit $1 billion to start a global university to fight authoritarian governments and climate change, calling them twin challenges that threaten the survival of civilization, Bloomberg reports.
The Open Society University Network will offer an international platform for teaching and research, the 89-year-old said Thursday, January 23 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The university will be launched through a partnership of the Soros-backed Central European University and Bard College.
“As a long-term strategy our best hope lies in access to quality education, specifically an education that reinforces the autonomy of the individual by cultivating critical thinking and emphasizing academic freedom,” Soros said.
In his speech and a follow-up question and answer session, Soros covered a wide-range of issues, including the “overheated” U.S. economy, the dominance of Facebook Inc. and the autocratic rule of Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump, who he called a “con man and the ultimate narcissist.”
Last year, the philanthropist warned of the “mortal danger” of China’s use of artificial intelligence to repress its citizens under the leadership of Xi, whom he called the most dangerous opponent of democracies.
He has also lashed out at social-media giants including Facebook and Google, saying they need to be regulated. Last year he compared them to gambling companies that foster addiction among users and said that they exploit the data they control.